There is a motto that we follow here at Laws Whiskey House. It is that we don’t tell the barrels when they are ready for harvest, they tell us. This approach has been with us since the beginning, and is the reason why, after filling our first barrel in 2011, we didn’t release any whiskey for more than three years. As we continued to mature, so too, did our age statements on many of our limited releases. Our flagship Four Grain Bourbon, however, has remained relatively consistent, averaging just over three-years old. Our latest batch, Batch 28, marks a change to our approach. For this batch we married ten-year-old barrels with our three-year-old barrels, and as we move forward with future batches, this standard will continue. Why have we made this change? Check out our Q&A with owner and founder Al Laws as he discusses the evolution of our flagship Four Grain Bourbon.
Q: What’s new with Laws’ flagship Four Grain Bourbon these days?
A: I’m pleased to announce that Four Grain Bourbon now has a portion of ten-year-old whiskey in the marriage. The ten-year-old portion makes up less than 10% of the overall blend, but it makes a big impact on the flavor. The lion’s share of the whiskey remains between three and four-years old.
Q: Laws Whiskey House flagship Four Grain Bourbon has always been over three-years old. What inspired you to start adding more mature barrels to this whiskey?
A: When we started Laws, we knew time was going to be a key ingredient in our whiskey. In those early days, we weren’t sure how long we’d have to wait but were committed to letting the whiskey tell us when it was ready. That’s why we waited more than three-years before releasing our first batch. Now, more than 10 years in it is very exciting to have whiskey in our rackhouse that has been aging this whole time. We’ve been dreaming of a day when would have very mature barrels to use in our flagship products and today, we’re able to make that dream a reality.
Q: How does this vertical marriage affect the flavor profile and overall product?
A: Marrying the three- to four-year-old whiskey with ten-year-old whiskey created a very nicely balanced bourbon with additional depth. Our three- to four-year-old base provides the brightness and signature grain-derived flavors like orange and baking spice that we love. At this age the whiskey has also had time to pick up nice barrel character, imparting flavors such as vanilla, honey, and black tea. The ten-year-old whiskey adds layers and complexity that comes from the additional barrel influence and the beneficial oxidation you get with time.
Q: You distilled your first bourbon on July 4th, 2011. How has this bourbon evolved over the last 11+ years of distilling?
A: One of our central philosophies at Laws Whiskey House is continuous improvement. This means that, every day we aim be a little bit better, whether that’s in our process or with the ingredients we use. Together, this adds up to be thousands of tweaks, changes, and modifications that make meaningful steps forward.
Perhaps the biggest change since we started in 2011 has to do with our grain suppliers. When we started, we weren’t able to source grains from Colorado farms. However, we wanted to make a whiskey that was reflective of the place it’s made. Thankfully we were able to find the Whiskey Sisters in Burlington, Colorado and the Cody’s in Alamosa, Colorado, both of which have supplied our grain for a majority of our existence. You can taste the difference not only in grain quality– using fresh locally sourced, high quality and heirloom grains- but also the unique terroir that these farms carefully foster. It’s a difference maker.
Q: Have you been able to compare batch 28 to batch 1 or any of the older batches? How do they compare?
A: I have a few bottles of batch #1 and other early batches at my house. I’m still incredibly proud of our first batches and they remain whiskeys that I’m excited for anyone to taste. In fact, we taste them from time to time as a reference, and every time we do, I’m struck by both the consistency of our whiskey and by how far we’ve come. Our signature grain-forward style is in batches 1, 7, 21, etc., but what we have now with Batch 28 are amazing incremental additional attributes. You get wonderful terroir influence that comes from our Colorado-grown grains combined with the barrel character we’ve been working on for more than a decade to develop. If you haven’t tried our Four Grain Bourbon for a while, I urge you to check out Batch 28!
Tasting Notes from Barrel Manager James Kunz
“We’ve added older barrels to our batch flagship bourbon to bring more maturity and balance to the grain-forward character of our three-year barrels. By layering in a few barrels of ten-year-old bourbon, we are able to highlight the caramel, vanilla and dark fruit notes of our older stock, while maintaining the bright approachability that our batch bourbon is known for. These older barrels were selected for their full-bodied character, deep oak flavor and their ability to bring balance to our batches. In addition to our typical orange peel, black tea and baking spice I get an oaky richness and a more rounded-out mouthfeel from batch #28.” – James Kunz, Barrel Manager
WHERE TO FIND BATCH 28
Batch 28 of our flagship Four Grain Bourbon can be found in retailers across the country, is currently available in our Tasting Room for purchase, and is coming soon to our eCommerce store. Look for Batch# 28 and beyond to experience the evolution of Laws Whiskey House for yourself.